Not feeling Mothers Day

If you're really into Mothers Day (Mother's Day? Mothers' Day?) you can skip this post.

I'm not a fan, personally, as I feel the public celebration causes a lot of pain for those who aren't mothers, who've lost children, who have strained relationships with children, who've lost their own mothers, or don't have good relationships with their mothers.

And I think it's yet another opportunity for the media and corporattions to patronize us by assuming we all want the same thing and that we're happy being objectified. (No, my name is not "Mom" unless you happen to be my sons.)

But here's an angle I hadn't considered. Monica writes:

"With mother's day approaching, I'm getting that uneasy feeling that
usually comes with the winter holidays.

Every mom I meet just LOVES
being a mom.  I hate to say it, but not so much here.  I love love love
my baby, but 11 months in and I'm still having a hard time adjusting to
being a parent. Though I adore my daughter, I'm finding myself missing
my child free days hard.  Prior to baby, I worked for myself from home,
and I thought I'd easily be able to continue this as a parent.  Enter
colicy baby with a major case of sleeplessness and separation anxiety, a
husband who works 60+ hours a week, and a lot of housework.  I won't go
too much into the details because I'm not necessarily looking for
advice on my specific situation (I think I need to do some major
contemplating on that), but I'm hoping you or other moms can commiserate
on not really loving motherhood.  Feeling a ton of mom guilt for even
writing that sentence."

Monica cannot be the only one. Comparing MD to the winter holidays makes complete sense, in that there are so many expectations set up around this day, and if you don't feel like you fit into the perfect picture, it's easy to feel like there's something wrong with you.

There is nothing wrong with you.

So, so many of us loved our babies but didn't like being mothers of babies. (Or sub in "toddler" or "preschooler" or "teen.") There is nothing wrong with you if you don't like a certain stage, or if you love it. There's nothing wrong with you if you fantasize about having your old life back sometimes. There is nothing wrong with you if you don't want to go to brunch, or recieve a heart-shaped pendant necklace or a plaster handprint. Don't hate the player–there's plenty enough to hate about the game.

You are the perfect mother for your child. Your child, who will go into a new stage that you will like better, and eventually will turn into an adult that you'll be happy to know. And who will think you're the best.

 

34 thoughts on “Not feeling Mothers Day”

  1. Oh, Monica, I feel where you’re coming from, so much. (Our little guy also had colic; I remember it well. ::shudder::)It is okay to not love the experience of motherhood. It really is. And, in my experience (one kid, now 3.5), it gets SO MUCH BETTER than it was when he was an infant — on every conceivable level, life has improved and improved since then. Not that it helps you much now, but — it won’t always be like this.
    Anyway. I hear you and I empathize.

  2. Moxie, I needed this today. Thank you.My particular issue is that I loooooved the baby stage and I am LOATHING three. We haven’t even hit 3.5 so I know it is only going to get worse. Every day is a struggle full of him screaming and kicking and throwing things and I pine for the days of an infant’s simple needs.
    Not really feeling Mother’s Day this year.

  3. I hated the baby stage. I just didn’t enjoy it at all. I loved my son, but I felt bored stiff. Frankly, I didn’t really like the toddler stage either. He is now 5 and we have a lot of fun together. You can’t be a mother for all seasons — advice I once read.

  4. While I love my kids, I do miss my pre-child life (and my one-child) life very much. Clearly I need better balance. Even a few non-work hours away from them does wonders for me. Even when they are driving me nuts, though, and I think about what I’d be doing if I never married or had kids, I choose my life, so I need to remember that. I miss that life, but I don’t think I’d necessarily want it back for more than a day or two.

  5. I just sent my kids outside so I could drown myself in chocolate.I empathize with the OP so much I can feel that old exhaustion and pain in my gut. My kids are now 7 and 4.5 and I still struggle, every.single.day, with loving motherhood. I just wasn’t cut from that motherly cloth. I feel like I’m failing my children daily.
    Mother’s Day is my least favourite day of the year, hands down.

  6. On another blog I read the term “anticipointment,” and I think Mother’s Day is the biggest anticipointment holiday of all. I don’t even know exactly what it is that I want, but somehow my actual experience never lives up to these ill-defined expectations. I’m always just happy when Mother’s Day is over.I live across the country from my own mom, so that’s sad. My husband isn’t the type to make a big deal out of holidays. I don’t want to bend over backwards to make plans, and honestly this year I’m too exhausted from work and other obligations to want to do a big thing anyway. I always just insist on getting to take a nap on Mother’s Day.

  7. You can search Ask Moxie for the post “Does it ever get better?” – I asked the question….when my daughter was 12 months old. So I hear ya.My daughter was also colic. The first 4 months or so of her life were absolute hell. Getting her to fall asleep and stay asleep required Herculean efforts, she cried and fussed a great deal, so we had no newborn honeymoon period. So,we were completely wiped out and honestly, it took me about 2-2.5 years to get over colic. I was so drained from the colic that every hiccup and difficulty absolutely overwhelmed me. I felt I never had a chance to re-group before another thing went awry, until about 2-2.5 years in.
    So, in sum, I did not love it at 11 months. At all. Totally hated it. I actually really didn’t feel any “lovin it” until my child was well over 2 years old. She is 3 now, and I don’t love it everyday, but much more than I used to. The biggest improvement is that I am less afraid. Good luck to the OP!

  8. I will be taking my boys to sports practice on Mother’s Day, as I do every Sunday right now. Then there is a phone call with my mother-in-law with my kids. I am assuming that will be all. Sometimes on mother’s day I get a hastily drawn picture, sometimes someone goes out and buys flowers. At the last minute. I have learned not to expect much. I resent it slightly as I tend to buy presents and make a thing out of other holidays for other people. But we give for the pleasure of giving, right? I try to be okay with not receiving. My kids will grow up some day and hopefully they will decide to give to others.

  9. For the past 4 yrs (my kiddo is 5), the MD gift my family (husband, really) has given me is a weekend away with girl friends. I highly recommend it! Trade in those cheesy gifts and expectations for some “me” time with the folks who lift you up 🙂

  10. And you are still doing everything you need for your kid.I found months 9 to 12 hard because I kept thinking, “Isn’t it supposed to be easier by now?” and in so many was it just wasn’t, part of which was job stuff thrown into the mix.
    Hang in there! You deserve to be celebrated as a mom no matter how you feel about motherhood.

  11. My kids are 5 and 2 1/2 right now and while there are times that I love being their mom more than anything, there are times when I wish I could send them back! (and not always just joking, either!) Being a mom is HARD and you NEVER seem to get a break (even when you’re away from your kids for the day/evening/couple of hours) since they are always in the back of your mind, etc.I am constantly comparing myself to other moms who seem to want to be with their kids ALL the TIME, when I really, desperately would like to get away from mine occasionally. (I’m a SAHM. The 5 year old goes to half day preK, but the 2 1/2 yr old is with me 24/7) I think “she must be a better mom than me – I just want a break and she’s begging to be with her kids more often.” But I think there are MANY of us who need and crave those breaks. And I think we just don’t talk about it honestly.
    That first year? It is SOOOOOOOOOO hard. After having my 1st child, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted another one, despite my plans to have more than one. But eventually, things got easier and the idea of another baby really appealed. And then I got my 2nd and I was like “oh so wonderful!” until PPD kicked my butt. (and even then, I wanted to be with him, and him only and I wanted to just hole up in my room watching TV all day while he slept and nursed).
    Give yourself a break, Monica. Things will get better!

  12. Thank you Moxie for once again giving us a space to openly discuss the complex feelings around being a mother. The last time I mentioned a struggle I was having with my son (in another forum) I was berated by a woman who said I should just be grateful for having such a wonderful child, and that plenty of other women would be happy to trade places with me. Obviously she was hurting, but it made me feel like an asshat, and was entirely unhelpful.Anyhoo, I have struggled very much with my expectations for Mothers Day. Last year I let them go and managed to have a lovely day. This year I am honoring myself with a little inward journey, and a trip down memory lane. In fact, I blogged about it today. We will see how the day itself goes.

  13. I often really hate being a parent. I have great kids and love them dearly, but there are big parts of me that just wish I hadn’t become a parent. It’s hard and mostly unrewarding and has limited so many other areas of my life that I, unfortunately, was not really able to tap into until after kids.There are also many big parts of myself that enjoy the hell out of parenthood and are hyper-aware that I wouldn’t feel like I was living my fullest, most joyful life had I not had kids.
    Learning to live with this and other profound inconsistencies in my life is pretty much my whole inner life right now. It has really helped me to publicly and lovingly admit that I often just really don’t like this. And to work to understand that this makes me neither a bad parent nor a bad person.
    So – I feel you.

  14. I’ve got all kinds of jumbled thoughts on this one. I love my daughter – heart and soul. I loved being her mother, but NOT ALL THE TIME! I worked full time from the time she was 8 weeks old. I was criticized for not being a stay at home mom. Truth was, I really did not want to be with the child 24/7. I was a better parent because I did go to work. If I had ‘had’ to stay home, I would have resented her.Mother’s day has never been a particularly special day for me. My first mother’s day (daughter was about 5 month old); her dad was mad at me about something (who knows what) so after church he threw a box at me and said “here’s your f***ing mother’s day gift..” So Mother’s day – not so much.
    (And my ex just messaged me saying how sorry he is, what an idiot – etc. WTH we’ve been divorced 20 years now – let it go)
    Anyway, I think I may have strayed a bit from the topic,but I totally get where you are coming from.

  15. Mother’s Day not so fabulous here either. Thank you for articulating this sad sadness I was already feeling.I had my 3rd baby 6 months ago and often fantasise about how much easier life would be without him.
    I suspect it’s just that the baby stage is hard work and things will get better as I did it after my second was born too.
    Add to that there’s little acknowledgement of the day from my family and my own mother is absent.
    So I think I’ll buy myself something nice and let my husband know that Mother’s Day means he’s babysitting while I get some sap e
    So not alone in those thoughts at all.

  16. As always, Moxie, you help make room for the less-than-perfect reality. Thank you. While I am lucky that I have so far enjoyed parenting, I just left a Walgreens after crying in the card aisle. I was trying to pick out cards for my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister (who is a new mother), as well as for my step-mother, but I just got sadder and sadder. I miss my mother so very, very much. She died 2.5 years ago, and for complex reasons, I only really have the time to mourn now. It’s hitting me hard. I don’t feel up to MD this year. I will love the gifts my two boys have stage-whispered to me that they made in preschool (SHHHHH! I can’t tell you what the surprise is! It’s a card and a bracelet, but I can’t tell you that!). But it will also make me miss my mother so much more, because those moments are so precious and so fleeting. Loving them so much makes me sad because I feel everything is temporary, and I know I’ll leave them someday and they’re likely to be as bereft as I am. I will never again encounter the kind of acceptance and celebration she gave me. I don’t want to replicate all she did, but just enough.So for mother’s day, I want to be alone for a while. Go to a movie (which I loved doing with my mother). Probably cry in the dark for a bit. Wait for MD to go away.

  17. I’ve bought, signed and sent cards for my mom, mother-in-law and husband’s grandmother (including having the addresses and stamps to do so). My ideal mother’s day would be spent alone. But I try to remember that Mother’s day isn’t about me.

  18. I struggle with Mother’s Day every year as I lost my mom when I was 19 and my stepmother when I was 26. Last year I had a new baby to distract me, but this year I began to feel that old sadness creeping in again.But then I read this post on BlogHer about Mother’s Day Eve and I thought “this is exactly what I need” at the same time as “I really wish I could take credit for this but I can’t”. Check out the post here: http://www.blogher.com/mothers-day-eve-i-invented-holiday-and-youre-invited
    I have 10 friends with babies, kids or adult children coming over for wine, simple manicures, spa water, fruit, cheese and some laughs. Because if Sunday ends up a shitstorm of family drama, at least I had Saturday night 😉

  19. thanks for this post. reading the words above “I often really hate being a parent” are immensely comforting.I love love love my kids – they are fantastic and funny and smart and well-behaved and creative. . .the parenting? Not so much.
    OP – lots of love, and try and step away from that guilt. You are so not alone.

  20. From a different perspective, I’m the grown adult of a woman who didn’t love being a mother. She had motherhood foisted upon her at 15 through sexual abuse, and didn’t send her last child out of the house until she was 52. While she always loved us fiercely and was a really good mom, it’s only as an adult that I realize how much she never wanted to be a mother. Or at least resented the timetable that was thrust upon her and the sacrifices, that let’s face it, me and my sisters never appreciated. Just wanted to put it out there that just because you don’t love motherhood doesn’t make you a bad mom. My mother raised 4 relatively well adjusted, loved kids.

  21. I’m hating motherhood entirely right now. Two preschoolers and I am highly underemployed, meaning I’m basically a (bitter, resentful, unhappy, frustrated) SAHM.Tomorrow my husband and I will leave the kids with a sitter while we go mountain biking. But I’ll still come home to motherhood.
    *sigh*
    Monica, you’re not alone!! Hang in there.

  22. Just wanted to post tons of love for all of you. My husband tries to make MD wonderful for me, and I deeply appreciate him for it. My mother is still wrecked from her mother’s death 12 years ago. So when I call her to say happy md she’ll cry then I’ll go down the guilt spiral for not being in the same state and like I don’t see her enough (this isn’t her guilting me, it’s all my issue). So it’s incredibly ambivalent for me. I want to enjoy it but there are so many land mines. Plus this year there’s drama about my husband’s family clearly being irritated that my kid’s violin concert is the same time as their MD restaurant outing. I can’t fix that… Anyway. Ambivalent.

  23. Coming from another angle here. My mom loves Mothers Day. I was always ‘meh’ about it, and more so because my mom made it a Big Deal. Nothing like a command performance to make one resist… AND, then I married a Quaker, and we talked about why Christmas and Easter and Mother’s Day are Not Things (though most Quakers do celebrate the cultural holidays now). If it’s important enough to have A Day for, then it should be celebrated every day, and not just on one day. I liked that approach to the theme days. We don’t do Valentine’s, or MD, or FD, here. Which is a relief, really.I don’t like the first six months, like 6-11 months fine, don’t like 11-14, like 15-18, etc., back and forth. There’s a stage I struggle with, then one that’s fun for me, then another one (or two or three) in a row I am constantly challenged by, then another breather. And mainly, the kids hit them on different cycles so there’s always someone in a stage that makes my brain warp.
    I decided to stop caring if I loved it or not. It is, whatever. I struggle through on the hard ones, sail through on the easy ones (er, wait, sorta sail, because there’s easy and then there’s EASY which I’ve never actually encountered), and don’t measure whether I’m loving it or not, but instead if I’m making it work, and finding enough time and life to make it work well enough to have some high points each week. Which is also why I no longer work at the FABO HIGH PRESSURE ACCELERATED CAREER DREAM JOB, and instead took a much more sane job with a longer commute, which I am going to enjoy, and be able to live with instead of live around. I had to let go of the ‘am I loving it and should I love it?’ a long time ago, and instead focus on ‘am I living it (am I genuinely alive here, even if I’m not all joy and bounces)’.
    I accept the MD stuff from the kids at school, and am warm and welcoming of the gifts and poems and drawings because they’re gifts and poems and drawings from the kids, not because of the holiday. It’s embedded enough in the kids that when a teacher wished me Happy Mother’s Day and asked my son what we were doing for it, he said with a smile that we don’t celebrate it, thanks. (At her stunned expression, I mentioned the Quaker approach, which most people think is grand ideals, but which I think that MD-affinity folks might think of as somewhat of a let-down.)
    Last note – my mom had seven kids, adopted an eighth. She didn’t love motherhood every day when we were little, and certainly not when we were filling the teen years. She loves it every day now that we’re all grown. That’s the goal, in her mind. You don’t have to love it, you just have to show up, and eventually, you’ll have adult kids and adult relationships with them, which she finds fabulous (even though there’s no guarantee of your relationships there, and some of hers are rocky with my sibs, too). My mom has a rep for being a fantastic mom, and if she can really dislike and regret it at times and ages and stages all the way through, and still love it in the end? I think we’re in good company.

  24. We don’t make big deals out of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day here. The kids do cards for parents and grandparents, we send cards to our own parents (and in my case, grandparents). I usually ask for (and get) a day in which I don’t have to cook- but since my husband usually does dinners on the weekends, that just means he also makes lunch or we go out. We go to a park and the kids play. For Father’s Day, I usually go get him some of the really good beer that he only buys rarely (Green Flash Palate Wrecker, for anyone who’s curious). I put that out there as a “there is a middle ground between ignoring it completely and having it be a source of stress” and not to say that we have The One True Way or anything like that.As for the OP’s post- well, I often say it took me at least a year to really come to terms with how my life changed when I had a baby, and settle into being a mother. The earlier posts on my blog are proof! My oldest is 6 years old now, and I am comfortable with the title “mom” and all that it means… but there are still times when I sigh over what was lost when I decided to have kids. I love my kids, and would not change the course of my life if given the chance, but I can still look and see what is gone and miss it.
    I will also say, that things are much easier now with a 6 year old and a 3.5 year old. I sleep through the night often (not always, yet…) and I have reclaimed a little of the “me” time I missed. Traveling (something my husband and I love to do) is easier now. And I can look ahead to things getting easier as the little one gets older. I know people say that parenting older kids is just as hard- and I agree. But it is hard in a different way. At least for me, having older kids has brought back some wiggle room in our schedule and some times when the kids don’t need my physical presence, and that in turn makes it easier for me to recharge and be ready to handle the problems that the kids have. For me, parenting babies and toddlers is just so physically demanding- they want you ALL THE TIME!- that even though the problems they have are objectively simpler than the problems my older kids have, I felt more overwhelmed. YMMV, of course.
    Good luck, hang in there, and don’t let anyone tell you that you have to love every minute. That would be freaky.

  25. I don’t really enjoy being a mother most of the time. My kid is now three, and I still don’t really enjoy it. That is not to say that I don’t love my kid and find him funny and interesting and sweet. And I like kids in general and am a kinda “motherly” person, so I always assumed that I would love being a mother. Enter reality!Turns out that me liking kids was about how I like them a lot in doses of one hour or less. I don’t like being a (SAH) mom that much. I find it boring, unrewarding, and stifling. So much of it is a low-grade grind of bullsh!t, someone not liking how you cut his sandwich, and then you trying to dig down deep and find the deep compassion to say, yet again, “Oh, you thought it would be different. You’re feeling disappointed.” instead of “Just stop it! Make your own sandwich, I don’t care! Here’s a sharp knife, have at it!”
    I related to Johanna’s post a lot. I too feel like I belatedly realized that maybe motherhood was actually not a great fit for who I am and what I wanted to do with my life. (Although sometimes I wonder – to what extent did these things I can’t do right now because I have a young child emerge in me exactly because I had a baby and experienced the crazy thing that is motherhood?) But I try to hang on to the idea that this particular phase is short. In a couple of years, he’ll go to school, and he’ll increasingly be his own person.
    I also think, as someone who also worked from home pre-baby and thought she would be able to continue, and as someone whose partner works so many hours per week right now that I live in a kind of shadowy semi-single zone, that this is, for me, a particularly tough way to be a mom. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to parent if my life circumstances were different and I didn’t feel so “Help I’m trapped in this locked room with a terrifying preschooler” all the time.
    One of the things I really appreciate about Ask Moxie is that folks admit here that not everything relating to motherhood is sunshine and dewdrops. When I first became a mom, the mega sentimental way most people talk about parenting made me feel like an alien. I really appreciate knowing that there are other thoughtful people out there, trying hard to be good moms and dads, who also find it tough and not “Now I know what true love is”, you know?

  26. @AnonToday – 3.5 may not be the Big Suck you’re expecting. Our worst was from about 2.5-3.5 and then at 3.5 it got DRAMATICALLY better. Just putting that out there from another mama who really thought the baby stage was easier too 🙂

  27. I love babies and loved having a baby and loved nursing and loved my extended maternity leave -BUT it still took me at least a year to come to terms with the loss of my child-free life, the complete loss of my autonomy and solitude. I had no idea as an introvert, how devastating the loss of these could be. I’ve often thought they should write a book (maybe the author of Quiet?) about the special challenges faced by introverted parents – we could call it Parenting While Introverted.
    As for loving parenting, my guess would be that most people strongly dislike parenting a lot of the time. It’s tedious and unrewarding and really difficult. My favorite line in that Momastery post that went viral on not carpe the diem was her rhetorical question – “Don’t you mean you loved *having parented*?” Like @hedra said, it’s worth it in the long run. We just have to keep our eyes on the long term. It’s a relationship, rather than being about each isolated moment.
    Lastly, I must be a Quaker at heart, because I’m not into Days, not anniversaries or birthdays or MD. My ideal MD is brunch with friends/ break from my kids for a couple of hours. My husband and I do a good job of keeping our old pact with each other, to love and appreciate each other every day.

  28. My kid is 7 1/2 and I’m still not into parenthood, so no “hated that phase, love this phase” here. This is partly my own particular circumstances — single mom (not by choice), and an introvert raising an extrovert — but I also feel that some of us just aren’t mother material, and this is compounded by our culture’s relentless sunshine-and-roses cliche of motherhood.Problem is, you can’t stuff the kid back in (believe me, I’d trade this life for my old one if I could), so you have to figure out a way to deal with the new normal, sucky though it may be. That means sometimes just going through the motions — i.e. keep ’em fed and clothed and well-rested and on time for stuff — and carving out whatever time for yourself you possibly can (Ikea playroom/sitting in a random playground with a good book/strictly enforced nap or rest time/etc.).
    For the record, my son is smart and happy and thinks I’m the bee’s knees despite all of the above — proof that 90% of life really is just showing up. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t love motherhood; hopefully you will in the future, but even if you don’t, you’ll probably still be a good mom.

  29. Since getting married, my husband and I have taken an extremely flexible attitude toward all “holidays” except the major ones (Christmas and Thanksgiving are the biggest because we celebrate them with both families, one way or another. I’m regretting that Easter is creeping in there, because I’m not sure we need the stress of “Who do we spend it with?/Where do we spend it?). Some years, we celebrate our anniversary with fancy presents, some years (like when we were buying a house), we get take out. Some years, I get something really great and thoughtful for my birthday, others, I pick my own present (and maybe even shop for it). Mother’s Day is kind of the same – last year, my husband got me a really nice camera because I’d been complaining about not being able to get good pictures of our daughter. This year, I didn’t expect anything because we’ve been strapped for cash. Our next baby is due the day after Father’s Day, I doubt I’ll have the energy to do much for my husband, but he’ll be ok with that. This kind of flexibility has saved my sanity because we just don’t have a lot of pressure around “Day” holidays (VD, MD, FD, even birthdays). This year, I’m struggling with not enjoying my toddler more than half the time, and freaking out about having the second, and so not expecting Mother’s Day to be this great day of appreciation and love all about me helps me avoid any disappointment and alleviate some of the stress.

  30. I didn’t love being a mom for my first mother’s day. My son was a colicky, projectile vomiting 5-month old at the time and waking up multiple times in the night since birth. I loved my son but he was hard baby I didn’t like him yet. I was pumping around the clock and exhausted, and I had developed post-traumatic stress disorder due to his birth and going through those symptoms. I hated what I had done to my life and I felt I was was screwing up my son’s life too. The icing on the cake was that first mother’s day. I had wanted (but didn’t communicate, of course) some pampering, and chance to recharge a little and feel appreciated. My husband gave me a card that was supposed to be funny but was insulting given my situation, and asked me where I wanted to eat for lunch. We couldn’t get into anywhere, because you need reservations on mother’s day, and we couldn’t wait for a table with an unhappy infant. I was furious at him for not being considerate and myself for not saying what I needed.That first mother’s day was a watershed moment, and that time help catalyze what I needed to change. I don’t like that it took that day to realize that everything was really wrong, but that was 9 years ago and things are better. This Mother’s Day I needed a trip out of town with my family more than I needed a day at home expecting to be pampered. So I made reservations at a hotel out of town, planned the itinerary, asked my husband to help get us ready to go. And we went. 🙂

  31. Thank you for this. What Johanna said, and Cordy too especially resonated for me, as well as countless other comments. I get sucked in to the Days, the Celebrations. I like to make Days big for others, and then, when it’s about me, there’s too much pressure for my husband, and to compound things, my birthday sometimes falls on MD. It’s an intense time, w/me trying to manage my expectations. I think we’re on our way to simplifying things.I was 41 when I became a mother and I’ve just turned 49. This birthday is kicking my ass. My kid is amazing, sensitive & spirited, and really intense & hard to handle, and it’s been a hard slog of a year, through bullying, his psychologist sort of throwing her hands up about his defensiveness around his emotions & refusal to stand up for himself, other odd health things, and weird social stuff w/his best friend being really manipulative. I’m tired of advocating for him, tired of coaching him, tired of vetting providers, tired of the financial stress from the private school and other things, tired of managing insurance claims, tired of the focus on him & nothing left for my husband. My childhood crap gets triggered on a daily basis and I’m just burnt out.
    When I think back to pregnancy days, we conceived him with such hope & I feel like my hopes for him are getting squashed everyday by my worries. And yet, the things I’ve learned about myself, that I am working through in therapy, my reconnection to art as an important necessary thing in my life, they are all things I may never have encountered were it not for my child.
    Amongst the stress and fear, the trying to trust that it will all be okay, that he will find his way, that we aren’t making horrible mistakes, that I will be someday find & be able to focus on a job that pays me and leaves me time for myself & to help my kid and family, I’ve always had the thought that he is my biggest teacher, that he showed up when I was ready. Even though I don’t feel “ready” most of the time.

  32. Mother’s Day (or more accurately Mothering Sunday here) is fortunately a dim and distant memory for us since we celebrate in March and it’s very blurry in my memory (but I’m also five months pregnant so everything is pretty blurry).It’s a hard day for me – my own mother died three years ago, and MD falls right around a big slew of anniversaries and birthdays so it comes with some added emotional punch. My eldest is 2 so this was my second real Mother’s Day and I can certainly say that it was vastly better than my first – we also had a very difficult babyhood (reflux, undiagnosed food allergies, asthma and a grand falling out with our only local family – fun times!). Mother’s Day isn’t such a big deal here in the UK – and whilst I wish we were better at celebrating some holidays (Hallowe’en for a start), I’m privately grateful that MD remains a small affair for most people.
    As for loving mothering – ahem, no. Especially not that long and very difficult first year. And not so much the second year either with all the fun of the 18 month sleep regression and two house moves in six months. I remember feeling like an utter failure that I didn’t immediately ‘fall in love’ either with my baby or with motherhood itself. Once I got my PPD under control, loving my baby (without being paralysed by anxiety) became a lot easier, but it’s taken the best part of two years for me to come to terms with my new life and my new role as SAHM. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve been able to feel like I’m happy with my life more often than not. And a lot of that has to do with my DD starting to sleep through the night. It’s made a enormous difference – bigger than I ever realised when I was still getting up 2+ times a night. I’m also finding a verbal child much easier to deal with (and much more endearing) than I did the baby stage – something I’m trying to remember as we approach the arrival of Baby No 2.
    I’m slowly learning to accept that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be more than good enough. My mother was not emotionally available to me or my sibs growing up – nor even as adults. I’m pretty sure she was depressed or perhaps just not capable of that kind of relationship – I know that she loved us, and I know that she did the best she could – but I often felt let down and it felt a lot like being loved from a distance and with lots of compromise. But I’m coming to realise that ‘not loving’ parenting is a whole lot different to ‘not parenting’, my mother may have been there in person but she really didn’t ‘show up’ for me, not in any meaningful sense of the word. Funnily enough though, as I forgive myself for not being perfect, I’m starting to forgive her too.
    So thank you for this Moxie and for all the contributors, I so appreciate having a safe and understanding space to explore this.

  33. Monica, I hear you. I remember. I felt the exact same way.To borrow a phrase, it gets better. Eventually I got used to the new life I was leading.
    Hoping you do too.

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